Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A thoroughly enjoyable away day!

At the end of last week we took a 2 hour train journey out of Melbourne to Bendigo.  It was good to get out of town and Bendigo is a very nice, small city which was built up around the gold rush of the 1850s.  It has been the second highest producing goldfield in Australia and is still the seventh largest in the world.  Bendigo is in the state of Victoria and Queen Vic was ever present - you can just see her below, presiding over the Pall Mall area of town.
We were met at the station by a cousin who I hadn't seen for very many years, and she took us back to her house on the edge of Bendigo.  She and her husband live in a lovely old house, dark inside as it has always been and full of beautiful things.  She is an artist and her work is everywhere.  It was just wonderful.  She showed us around their property which is now a protected reserve of Australian bush.  
I really love the gum trees.  There are over a hundred different varieties but I like these tall lofty ones which are so graceful and delicate.

I was absolutely thrilled to see lots of kangaroos leaping through the bush and out across an open field - I was beginning to think I might not see any other than the stuffed one in the Melbourne Museum!
We had a delicious lunch with a bottle of red wine from our host's own vines, which was extremely good, especially with this local cheese.  
Great name - and very smelly!

After lunch we went to an exhibition being held at the Bendigo Art Gallery.  'Grace Kelly - Style Icon' has been much advertised around Melbourne.  The posters were tempting so we booked tickets.
Bendigo was delighted to be hosting the exhibition, it brought a huge number of visitors to the city.  
The exhibition charted Grace Kelly's dress style from the days of Hollywood when she was immaculately but casually dressed - nice crisp white shirts and cut off trousers worn with penny loafers, to her life as Princess Grace of Monaco, long floating gowns.  Amongst other memorabilia there were several posters from some of her films, Mogambo, High Society, On the Waterfront and the Hitchcock films Rear Window and Dial M for Murder and a couple of the fabulous dresses she wore in High Society and costume from other roles.

Moving through the exhibition there were several outfits which Grace wore during her courtship and engagement to Prince Rainier of Monaco during 1955.  These were very demure dresses and classic Dior suits, nothing fussy.  She was such a beautiful woman that she really didn't need any embellishments!  And then of course her wedding dress, worn on 19 April 1956.  I tried to add a photo of this fabulous gown but it wouldn't work however Google Images has loads!  Anyway, suffice it to say, it was very beautiful and you can clearly see the influence it bore on the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress.

A few shops had gone it bit overboard on the whole Grace Kelly thing,
but why not, she was a very beautiful woman.

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